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Sunday #Infographic: Read your way through South Africa's democracy: fb.me/1rAvih77x

No quarter for quotas

IN THE current hullabaloo around Fikile Mbalula’s quota threats, the 20-year anniversary celebrations of the first democratic vote and other election point-scoring, it’s a good time to take a deep breath and retreat to a quiet corner of the library at the University of the Western Cape (UWC).

In two cardboard boxes in the Mayibuye-Robben Island archives housed there are a set of documents which show how the men pivotal to our democracy went about organising sport.

It’s an object lesson in how to identify goals and then go about achieving them.

It is also a heartening reminder of how good we can be at this, if we just go about it in the right spirit.

The documents reveal how Robben Island functioned as a laboratory for the exploitation of team sports as a unifier of disparate interest groups. After Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada and the rest of the Rivonia trialists were imprisoned on Robben Island in 1964, they were joined by successive waves of young men whose hectic, meaningful lives had been brought to an abrupt halt.

The leaders recognised that sport could help provide both entertainment and a common purpose.

So prisoners divided themselves into soccer — and, later, rugby — teams, each of which had to contain a member of each of the political parties forced to share this confined, straitened space, from the nationalist Pan African Congress to the South African Communist Party to the South West African People’s Organisation.

Establishing the necessary facilities required co-operation as it all had to be done by stealth. Clumps of grass were cultivated outside the cells until enough had been grown to create a pitch. Prisoners given building jobs would secrete enough cement and sand to build benches for spectators and paint to draw the lines. For soccer nets, they would knit together ropes discarded by ships. The quarry provided lime.

New bonds were created through the formation of rugby and soccer leagues. Rule books were compiled; heroes and personalities were created across political, race and class lines.

It also worked as an organisational tool. The cardboard boxes at UWC include the original polite but persistent letters to prison officials, which, by the end of the ’70s, led to certain privileges becoming enshrined: such as Saturdays off from the daily grind of stone-crushing in the quarries as well as permission to erect moveable poles on the makeshift pitch. This was necessary because the pitch had to accommodate the different lengths needed by rugby and soccer.

Warders were drawn in as referees. This mutual absorption in the game enabled black prisoners and white warders to recognise what they had in common, rather than what differentiated them.

Steve Tshwete was the first president of the Island Rugby Board (IRB) and Sedick Isaacs, a practising Muslim who gained his PhD while on the island, was the secretary. Both signed the founding IRB constitution, a poignant document — handwritten in impeccable English on rough, lined paper — in 1972.

Upon his release in 1978, Tshwete was catapulted into the messy real world where sport — particularly rugby — had remained profoundly divisive.

But he built on what he had learnt in prison: when the United Democratic Front was formed in 1983, Tshwete became president of its Border branch and, together with the South African Council on Sport and the South African Rugby Union (which was mostly composed of coloured teams until it affiliated with the mostly African Kwazakhele Rugby Union), drove an acceleration of the international sports boycott, a significant factor in the downfall of apartheid.

It was on his island experience that Mandela drew when, as president, he reached out to the white community through rugby.

The point of churning up all of this history is to show that we have deep institutional knowledge of how to get it right.

The challenges now are different: we need sport — and particularly rugby — to unify and strengthen us as a nation. But we also want it to boost national pride by producing world-beating professional teams.

We should cherish the depth of rugby talent and passion in the Afrikaans community. We should also acknowledge that it is not only apartheid that is to blame for the ongoing failure to adequately develop black talent.

The Eastern Cape, the reservoir of black rugby talent, is still handicapped by poverty. Statistics South Africa’s 2014 report shows that almost one in five people in the Eastern Cape live below the poverty line. A dysfunctional education department means most schools aren’t developing young athletes.

Instead of all the grandstanding and finger-pointing, all the stakeholders in rugby should sit down together, hammer out a common objective and then work together to make it happen.

A good place to start would be to recognise that in 2014, there needs to be a sharp distinction made between professionalism and development.

We should be giving our top athletes everything they need to make us shine in the international sporting arena. And we should give every South African child the opportunity to play rugby — or any other sport — even if only for the love of it.

• McGregor is author of Springbok Factory: What it Takes to be a Bok

This column first appeared in Business Day

 

 

 

 

 

Jonathan Ball Authors at the Franschhoek Literary Festival (16 – 18 May)

The 2014 Franschhoek Literary Festival takes place from 16 to 18 May. Jonathan Ball authors at the festival to look forward to include Margie Orford, Sarah Lotz, Liz McGregor, Mark Gevisser, Tony Leon, Michiel Heyns, Justin Cartwright, Antony Altbeker, Alex Boraine, Marco Botha, Tim Couzens, Tim Cohen, Neil Manthorp, Liz McGregor, Simon Pearson, Reverend Mpho Tutu and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.

Water MusicA Girl Walks Into a WeddingTouch, Pause, Engage!Lost and Found in Johannesburg
Opposite MandelaInvisible FuriesOther People\'s MoneyLet There Be LightThe Book of Forgiving

 

Friday 16 May

Are there boundaries to your imagination?
10 AM – 11 AM (New School Hall)
Savannah Lotz (aka Lily Herne) grills Louis Greenberg (Dark Windows), Charlie Human (Apocalypse Now Now) and Sarah Lotz (The Three), about their limits, if they have any.

The Great Escaper
10 AM – 11 AM (Hospice Hall)
Lindy Wilson talks to Simon Pearson (The Great Escaper) about his research into her World War II hero uncle, Roger Bushell, the subject of this book.

Stormin’ Norman
10 AM – 11 AM (Church Hall)
Literary historian Tim Couzens and war historian Norman Stone talk about battles, wars, and the men and women caught up in them.

Oxford for Outsiders
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM (Congregational Church – please note: this is the correct venue; events 10 & 12 have swapped venues)
Justin Cartwright (This Secret Garden) and historian Margaret MacMillan, Warden of St Antony’s College, in conversation about Oxford, then and now.

Masterwriter Australia
1 PM – 2 PM (Church Hall)
Mike Wills and Thomas Keneally (The Daughters of Mars) have a chinwag about Down Under history, Australia’s involvements in wars, and a distinguished writing career, including the Booker Prize-winning Schindler’s Ark, on which the film Schindler’s List was based.

Mbeki in Hindsight
1 PM – 2 PM (New School Hall)
The fall and gradual rehab of the former president are discussed by Prince Mashele with Alex Boraine (What’s Gone Wrong?), Mark Gevisser (Thabo Mbeki: the dream deferred) and Tony Leon (Opposite Mandela).

Taboo Topics
2:30 PM – 3:30 PM (Old School Hall)
John Maytham engages with novelists Lauren Beukes, Damon Galgut (Arctic Summer) and Michiel Heyns (A Sportful Malice) about their new books, their hesitations when it comes to themes, and their definite no-nos.

SA PEN: The Importance of Reading
4 PM – 5 PM (School Hall)
Margie Orford engages Carole Bloch of PRAESA, Mark Heywood (SECTION 27) and Elinor Sisulu (Pukupedia) about this critical skill for learning and a lifelong enjoyment of books.


Saturday 17 May

Criminal Intentions
10 AM – 11 AM (Old School Hall)
Four éminence grises of SA crime fiction – Angela Makholwa (Black Widow Society), Deon Meyer (Kobra), Mike Nicol (Of Cops & Robbers) and chief interrogator Margie Orford (Water Music) – convene to define their objectives and plot forthcoming mischief.

For Love or Money?
10 AM – 11 AM (Hospice Hall)
“Why do you write, if not for money?” is the question Hagen Engler asks of novelists Gareth Crocker, Sarah Lotz and Kgebetli Moele.

SA’s Political Leadership Quagmire
10 AM – 11 AM (New School Hall)
Ray Hartley asks Adam Habib (SA’s Suspended Revolution), Rhoda Kadalie (In Your Face), and Prince Mashele (The Fall of the ANC) if, in their opinion, our leaders are sinking or treading water to stay afloat.

War – But No Lasting Peace
10 AM – 11 AM (Church Hall)
Three history professors, chair Bill Nasson (The War for South Africa), Margaret MacMillan (The War that Ended Peace) and Norman Stone (WWI: A short history) take us deep into the trenches of the war that was supposed to end all wars, and signally failed.

Team Spirit
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM (Church Hall)
Mike Wills scrutinises the hard physical sacrifices and personal achievements behind the glamour of sporting achievements with Marco Botha (Coach), Neil Manthorp (Bouch) and Liz McGregor (The Springbok Factory).

What’s to Become of Biography?
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM (Congregational Church)
Now that letters are becoming extinct and handwritten records rare, where will biographers find their hard material? Henrietta Rose-Innes asks of poet/novelist Finuala Dowling, Mark Gevisser, and Shaun Viljoen (Richard Rive: A partial biography).

Wrong Turns
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM (Council Chamber)
Alex Boraine (What’s Gone Wrong?) and Max du Preez (A Rumour of Spring) debate from their different points of view whether our country’s glass is half full or half empty.

A Writer’s Tools
1 PM – 2 PM (Congregational Church)
Is it possible to write a book without using social media, Rebecca Davis asks Lauren Beukes and Angela Makholwa, and wonders how Margie Orford manages since she committed Facebook suicide?

Whither the Economy?
1 PM – 2 PM (Church Hall)
Entrepreneur and economist Michael Jordaan rates our economic future with Financial Mail editor Tim Cohen (A Piece of the Pie), economics professor Rachel Jafta, and economist JP Landman (The Long View).

History Without the Guns
2:30 PM – 3:30 PM (Church Hall)
Mike Wills goes behind the tumult and the shouting with Margaret MacMillan (The Uses and Abuses of History) and Elizabeth van Heyningen (The Concentration Camps of the Anglo-Boer War), into the quieter reaches of social history and reflections on the past.

Politicians Between the Lines
2:30 PM – 3:30 PM (New School Hall)
Richard Calland asks Max du Preez and Marianne Thamm what it takes for a politician to warrant a biography, with the familiar and distinctive voice of Tony Leon adding to the discussion both from his experience as a politician and as the writer of an autobiography.

The Streets of Joburg
2:30 PM – 3:30 PM (Congregational Church)
Darrel Bristow-Bovey considers the pavements they’ve trodden with two writers who have written about their close relationship with Jozi: Mark Gevisser (Lost and Found in Johannesburg) and Ivan Vladislavić (Portrait With Keys).

The Territorial Imperative
2:30 PM – 3:30 PM (Old School Hall)
Zukiswa Wanner explores the influence of very different terrains and landscapes on Amsterdam resident Richard de Nooy, Australian Thomas Keneally, and Nigerian/South African Yewande Omotoso.

The Art of Crafting Long-form Journalism
4 PM – 5 PM (Council Chamber)
Literary long-form journalism is an art form in its own right. Pat Tucker speaks to fellow writers Antony Altbeker, literary historian Tim Couzens and journalist Simon Pearson about an increasingly acknowledged style of writing.

The Past is Never Past
4 PM – 5 PM (Old School Hall)
Four authors whose books are set both in the past and the present tell John Maytham why they took the difficult route of different places and time zones: Justin Cartwright (Lion Heart), Claire Robertson, Tan Twan Eng and James Whyle.


Sunday 18 May

ANCiety Attack
10 AM – 11 AM (New School Hall)
Is the ANC in, or causing, a state of anxiety? Mark Gevisser asks Saleem Badat (The Forgotten People), Max du Preez, Rhoda Kadalie and Prince Mashele to assess the health of the ruling party post elections.

Between Reality and Imagination
10 AM – 11 AM (Congregational Church)
Michele Magwood discusses the process of creating fiction from observed and lived experiences in specific cultural contexts, with Israeli Shifra Horn, Australian Thomas Keneally, and Malaysian Tan Twan Eng.

War Stories
10 AM – 11 AM (Hospice Hall)
Bill Nasson invites fellow war experts Tim Couzens, Norman Stone and James Whyle to recount some of the strange and lesser-known tales of conflict they have unearthed during their researches.

The Considered Canon
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM (Council Chamber)
Taking into account their dual roles as academics and novelists, Imraan Coovadia, Nadia Davids and Michiel Heyns give their views on what is generally considered the South African literary canon – and whether the very idea of a canon is too exclusionary.

Forgiveness
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM (New School Hall)
Redi Tlhabi presents The Arch, Desmond Tutu, and his daughter Rev Mpho Tutu talking about their new book, The Book of Forgiving.

It’s News to Me
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM (Old School Hall)
Ray Hartley (former Sunday Times Editor) gathers with journalists Janet Heard (recently resigned as Assistant Editor at the Cape Times), Simon Pearson (The Times in London), and Martin Welz (Noseweek Editor) to talk about press freedom versus the exigencies of declining readership, cost cutting and challenging ownership.

The Colonial Aftermath
1 PM – 2 PM (Hospice Hall)
Francis Wilson, who has a lifetime’s experience of the Eastern Cape and its heritage, talks to Margaret MacMillan (Daughters of the Raj) and Yewande Omotoso about lingering colonial traces in India and Nigeria.

Jerusalem – the Protagonist
1 PM – 2 PM (Art in the Yard Gallery)
Justin Cartwright in conversation with Shifra Horn about the ancient city that dominates and enriches novels.

Rocking the Boat
1 PM – 2 PM (Old School Hall)
SA society is blessed with mavericks who are not afraid to speak truth to power. Manning the oars in this galley, with Rebecca Davis as coxswain, are ex-politician Tony Leon, commentator Prince Mashele, journalist/comedian Marianne Thamm and cartoonist Zapiro.

Book details

  • The Book of Forgiving: The Four-Fold Path of Healing For Ourselves and Our World by Desmond Tutu, Mpho Tutu
    EAN: 9780007512881
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!

Ray Hartley at the Franschhoek Literary Festival (16 – 18 May)

How to Fix South AfricaRay Hartley, editor of How to Fix South Africa: The country’s leading thinkers on what must be done to create jobs, will be speaking at the 2014 Franschhoek Literary Festival, which takes place from 16 to 18 May.

Hartley will be speaking about South Africa’s political leaders and discussing the issue of media freedom and the financial factors that threaten it.


Saturday 17 May

SA’s Political Leadership Quagmire
10 AM – 11 AM (New School Hall)
Ray Hartley asks Adam Habib (SA’s Suspended Revolution), Rhoda Kadalie (In Your Face) and Prince Mashele (The Fall of the ANC) if, in their opinion, our leaders are sinking or treading water to stay afloat.

Sunday 18 May

It’s News to Me
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM (Old School Hall)
Ray Hartley gathers with journalists Simon Pearson, Martin Welz and Janet Heard to talk about press freedom versus the exigencies of declining readership, cost cutting and challenging ownership.

Book details

  • How to Fix South Africa: The country’s leading thinkers on what must be done to create jobs edited by Ray Hartley
    EAN: 9780620549882
    Find this book with BOOK Finder!

Adam Habib and Shaun Viljoen at the Franschhoek Literary Festival (16 – 18 May)

South Africa's Suspended RevolutionRichard RiveAdam Habib, author of South Africa’s Suspended Revolution, and Shaun Viljoen, author of Richard Rive: A Partial Biography, will be at the 2014 Franschhoek Literary Festival, which is taking place from 16 to 18 May.

Habib will be discussing South Africa’s political leadership and tertiary education and Viljoen will be talking about researching biographies in a digital age.

Saturday 17 May

SA’s Political Leadership Quagmire
10 AM – 11 AM (New School Hall)
Ray Hartley asks Adam Habib (SA’s Suspended Revolution), Rhoda Kadalie (In Your Face) and Prince Mashele (The Fall of the ANC) if, in their opinion, our leaders are sinking or treading water to stay afloat.

What’s to Become of Biography?
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM (Congregational Church)
Now that letters are becoming extinct and handwritten records rare, where will biographers find their hard
material? Henrietta Rose-Innes asks of poet/novelist Finuala Dowling, Mark Gevisser and Shaun Viljoen (Richard Rive: A partial biography).

The University Business
4 PM – 5 PM (Church Hall)
Francis Wilson talks candidly to vice-chancellors Saleem Badat, recently resigned from Rhodes, Adam Habib of Wits, and Max Price of UCT about the often contentious issues they face and ways to make university education more flexible and attuned to future employment.

Sunday 18 May

Does Democracy Work?
1 PM – 2 PM (New School Hall)
In the aftermath of the election and tumultuous ongoing ‘Arab Springs’, Peter Harris (Birth) gives the floor alternately to Adam Habib, Eusebius McKaiser, Pieter-Dirk Uys and Mike van Graan.

Book details

Trevor Romain Entertains at Launch of Random Kak I Remember About Growing Up in South Africa

 
Random KakA good number of people who remember Trevor Romain’s children’s books joined his friends and family last Thursday to hear him tell some of the stories of his childhood and adolescence in Johannesburg. The event held at the Linksfield school hall celebrated the launch of Romain’s latest book, the hilarious collection of illustrations Random Kak – I remember about growing up in South Africa, and took the form of a performance, with proceeds from the R100 cover charge going to the Botshabelo orphanage.

Despite the Linksfield school hall not being the warmest of venues, Romain immediately engaged the audience with his easy charm and ability to recall poignant images of the past that struck a chord with many. The school was in fact a fitting venue as Romain is an “old boy”. Born in Joburg, his childhood beat was Sandringham, Linksfield and Orange Grove. He had a number of props on the stage taken from his mother’s house – “My mom keeps everything”: a Five Roses Tea caddy, a ruler of the sort teachers used for disciplining naughty kids;,and his “suitcase of memories” (actually full of cue cards).

Romain recalled being a short guy, often called an “idiot” because of his dyslexia. At King Edward’s School (KES) he was told he didn’t have the talent to take art for matric (He wanted to go to an art, ballet and music school because of the beautiful ballet girls!). This stopped him drawing for 21 years, until he went to an art exhibition in his 30s and said to himself: “I can do that!”

After working in advertising for a number of years, he was visiting a friend in No. 1 Military Hospital and saw a 5-year old Ovambo boy who had lost both his legs in a landmine explosion. This child touched his heart that day and he made up his mind to work with children: telling jokes, teasing them and using art as therapy. He was invited by the United Nations to go to Burundi and the Congo to use humour and art as therapy for former child soldiers in the hospitals and orphanages.

Romain reminded the audience of some of the words he remembers from his youth in the 70s and 80s, like schloep (to brown nose); chookie (jail); tjorrie (car); jacks or flaps (canings); and his favourite – jags (randy).

His book is filled with nostalgic images for those who were young in those years: Hubby Bubbly cold drinks and Lion Lager; places like the Doll’s House roadhouse, “where a lot of kak went down”. Murmurs of recognition greeted his memories of disco clubs like Plum Crazy and Barbarellas, and radio shows like Mark Saxon and Squad Cars, LM Radio and watching The World at War on TV.

Romain explained how he has managed to keep all these memories alive. He said he was inspired by a man he met on a train to Pretoria while in the army – a recce who was on his way to Ward 17 at No. 1 Military Hospital “for a rest”. This man was polishing a wooden box in which he said he was going to put all the ghosts who were tormenting him and then bury it in the ground. Romain decided to keep a memory box where he put all his favourite things, including jokes, stories, clippings and sentimental items.

The last 28 years of Romain’s life have been spent in Austin, Texas. He describes himself as a “doctor of mischief”, working with children who have cancer and writing over 50 books for kids.

Romain ended off his performance with the thought that “today’s random kak is tomorrow’s nostalgia, so go out and make some kak”.

Photo gallery

Book details

Penguin Books South Africa Authors at the Franschhoek Literary Festival (16 - 18 May)

The 2014 Franschhoek Literary Festival takes place from 16 to 18 May. Penguin Books South Africa authors at the festival to look forward to include Gareth Crocker, Paige Nick, Meg Fargher, Helen Walne, Reg Lascaris, Savannah Lotz (Lily Herne), Jeremy (Jerm) Nell and Tan Twan Eng.

KingHow Children Experience Trauma and How Parents Can Help Them CopeLessons from the Boot of a CarJerm WarfareDeath of a SaintThe Garden of Evening MistsThis Way Up


Friday 16 May

Introducing…
10 AM – 11 AM (Council Chamber)
Sue Grant-Marshall chats to first-time authors Penny Lorimer (Finders Weepers) and Helen Walne (The Diving).

Are there boundaries to your imagination?
10 AM – 11 AM (New School Hall)
Savannah Lotz (aka Lily Herne) grills Louis Greenberg (Dark Windows), Charlie Human (Apocalypse Now-now) and Sarah Lotz (The Three) about their limits, if they have any.

Writing Through the Pain
1 PM – 2 PM (Old School Hall)
Karin Schimke (Bare & Breaking) probes the healing power of words with Dominique Botha (False River), Yewande Omotoso (Bom Boy) and Helen Walne.

Whose Perspective is it Anyway?
4 PM – 5 PM (Church Hall)
Sue Grant-Marshall considers the points of view of Gareth Crocker (King), Niq Mhlongo (After Tears) and Steven Boykey Sidley (Imperfect Solo), and how these are represented in their work.

What’s Happened to the Funny Pages?
4 PM – 5 PM (Congregational Church)
Funny folk John Curtis, Deni Brown, Andy Mason, Jeremy Nell and Gavin Thomson consider what’s wiping the smiles off the faces of many editorial cartoonists.

Saturday 17 May

For Love or Money
10 AM – 11 AM (Hospice Hall)
‘Why do you write, if not for money?’ is the question Hagen Engler asks of novelists Gareth Crocker, Sarah Lotz, and Kgebetli Moele.

Remember the way poetry was taught at school?
10 AM – 11 AM (art in the yard gallery)
Three outstanding English teachers – Michael King, Meg Fargher and John Holtman – reflect on why people have such intense memories of the poetry classroom.

Iconic Columnists
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM (Hospice Hall)
We all have favourite columnists. Ben Williams introduces three whose columns have growing readerships of devoted followers: Darrel Bristow-Bovey (In His Own Write), Ndumiso Ngcobo (Sunday Times Lifestyle) and Paige Nick (A Million Miles From Normal).

Truth be told
1 PM – 2 PM (Old School Hall)
Does fiction do a better job of telling the truth, as Doris Lessing averred? Michele Magwood explores the issue with novelists Damon Galgut, Njabulo Ndebele and Tan Twan Eng (The Garden of Evening Mists).

The Past is Never Past
4 PM – 5 PM (Old School Hall)
Four authors whose books are set both in the past and the present tell John Maytham why they took the difficult route of different places and time zones: Justin Cartwright (Lion Heart), Claire Robertson, Tan Twan Eng and James Whyle.

Sunday 18 May

Between Reality and Imagination
10 AM – 11 AM (Congregational Church)
Michele Magwood discusses the process of creating fiction from observed and lived experiences in specific cultural contexts, with Israeli Shifra Horn, Australian Thomas Keneally and Malaysian Tan Twan Eng.

The Subtle Seductions of Advertising
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM (Church Hall)
John Maytham inveigles veteran admen John Hunt (The Art of the Idea) and Reg Lascaris (Lessons From the Boot of a Car) to talk about the tricks of their trade and some of its new directions.

Book details